10 Facts About the Psychology of Tattoos

4. Anger

Dr. Kirby Farrell from Psychology Today calls tattoos “passive aggressive” since he considers some of the more violent images people get tattooed on their body  to be a silent symbol against society that stems from inner anger. According to a study done in 2015 by Professor Viren Swami from Anglia Ruskin University, the more tattoos someone has on their body, the angrier they are. And it’s not just silent stewing. Swami found that people with multiple tattoos are more likely to be verbally aggressive, violent, and rebel against authority.

The questions that Swami asked were along the lines of, “If someone in a position of authority was yelling at you, how would you respond?” They were given multiple options, which included standing there and taking it, yelling back, or waiting for the person of authority to finish before responding. The vast majority of people with tattoos responded that they would not stand for disrespect, and yell at the authority figure without hesitation. Unfortunately, this study is not good news for job seekers, especially when many companies already have a no-tattoo policy. Thankfully, there are plenty of companies out there who are willing to hire people with visible tattoos.

3. Addiction Misconceptions

Contrary to what popular culture may lead you to believe, people with multiple tattoos are not “addicted” to getting them. In fact, the vast majority of people will start with one tattoo, and then wait for years before getting their second. Tattoos can cost hundreds of dollars, and it can be a long, painstaking process. Psychologist Viren Swami says that getting a tattoo is actually the opposite of addictive behavior. People need to take a lot of time to save their money and consider the consequences of a tattoo, which is the exact opposite of someone with an addiction, who goes out to buy a cheap hit of something that will make them feel good in the moment.

Michael Atkinson, the author of Tattooed: The Sociogenesis of a Body Art comments that tattoos are not addictive, but it becomes a social behavior that is considered to be normal in certain circles. He compares it to brushing your teeth or tying your shoes.

However, for people who are struggling with addiction, getting a tattoo can help them stop themselves from giving in to their temptations. In fact, a luxury addiction service group called The Cabin in Chiang Mai, Thailand actually recommends that their patients in recovery should go out and get a tattoo that represents their addiction recovery process. It is a sign of commitment to recovery, and it’s a permanent reminder that they intend to change their life for the better, and a symbol of their success for years to come.

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